Tag Archives: new york

My Friends Doing Good Things for Society


Tristan joined the Peace Corps. Emily did Teach for America. Eric biked across the country building houses for the homeless. And what did I do? I moved to New York like all the other assholes, where I live in a shoebox, drown in dive bars, and complain about the rats and thieves that overrun this city.

To all my friends who are doing good things for society, please stop. You are making me look bad. Maybe not to my parents, who are pleased as punch with this “real job” I’ve managed to hold for a year. Telling their friends I work in advertising sounds a lot better than, “Andrea wants to be a writer/journalist/traveler something.” But this world is a far cry from my naïve, post-graduation Paul Salopek-esque aspirations. It’s like liberal guilt denied.

To make matters worse, I am happy here. Maybe I’m not teaching children to read or building wells or exposing humanitarian injustices, but I am paying off debts and not disappointing my parents.

That’s something to be proud of, right?





Today is my birthday. Yes, thanks for posting on my Facebook wall. Some people call it a milestone, an accomplishment. Do they have such little faith in me? Do they find my life so dangerous? Or did they think I’d off myself by now?

It’s not an issue of age. I look forward to getting older. There is so much ahead: career advancement, falling in love, developing deeper friendships—infinite adventures. There are a whole bunch of places I haven’t been and a long list of books I haven’t read. The future is the most exciting part. My laugh lines will speak for themselves.

Throwing parties in New York is stressful. I can’t expect my friends to pay for dinner, drinks, and dancing (like I so often get dragged into). I can’t front the bill, either. And this Manhattan shoebox apartment can’t fit the crowds my Chicago loft did. I’m left without a celebration venue. I don’t like birthday cake either—too wary of calories and candles (though I endorse a strong birthday cocktail). I think it’s a birthday faux pas not to eat your own cake.

Sometimes I miss my elementary school days, when all you needed was ice cream cake, silly string, and a roller rink to throw a rockin’ party.

Actually, that sounds pretty awesome right now. (As long as they serve beer.)




I don’t have a problem with what they eat—just as I don’t with the eating habits of omnivores or regular, run-of-the-mill vegetarians (like me). But I hate vegans’ smug, condescending approach to people who want to have their animals, and eat them too.

Consider a recent encounter in the East Village. Almost daily, I go for a long walk to look around New York and remind myself why I find it beautiful. One Sunday on Avenue A, a woman interrupted a phone conversation with my mother to hand me a pamphlet on vegetarianism. I waved her away—“Preaching to the converted,” I said. “Then you’ll need this,” she exclaimed and passed off a booklet on going vegan.

I just got 1UPed, herbivore-style. By a woman with dreads.

Aren’t human beings supposed to eat meat? Isn’t that why we have these damn canines? And while I don’t deny that there are major atrocities in the meat and dairy industry, I am not the one to address them. Ignorance is not excuse, but I’ve picked other battles.

I happen to like your potlucks, vegan, but these damn cupcakes are as full of your self-satisfied bullshit as you. Did you give me the chair so you’d get the soapbox?  PETA already gave you a bad name; you don’t need to enforce it.

In this world of in-your-face Big Macs and sneaky beef stock, shouldn’t we of the leafy-green nature unite rather than proselytize? I wasn’t raised catholic: I don’t respond to guilt.




I have a problem. It’s very serious. I’m going to the University of Chicago vs. NYU basketball game tonight, and I can’t figure out how to stay pleasantly tipsy through the two-plus hours of sloppy comedy they pretend to be “basketball.” If I’m going to watch a group of nerds butcher the game so badly, I’m going to need more than a glass.

The obvious solution would be a flask. I own two. But I can’t stomach the idea of swigging vodka in the middle of a crowded gym that smells like sweat and college students. Or maybe there is a bigger problem: I just don’t like taking shots.

Shots seem like an integral part of the twenty-something experience. Bad day? Shot of whiskey. Goin’ clubbin’? Take tequila. At that horrible East Village bar you can get five shots for $10, but have fun fighting the punks for them. There are fancy shots and flaming shots and foul shots. A shot for every occasion. But not for me.

Shots and I go way back, and I think it’s time to call it quits. We had our fun when I was underage and stupid. But they led to far too many embarrassing situations, questionable men, and bad dance moves. Now 23 (and probably still stupid), I want liquor with more sophistication than a frat party. Especially before midnight.

After the emotional and intellectual torture of college, can you really blame me? I guess this is what “school spirit” gets you these days.




Smoking weed is a rather popular pastime for kids my age. But no matter how many times my friends say marijuana will “enlighten” me, I just. never. get it. If I wanted to smell like incense and BO, I would have joined the ultimate Frisbee team. Or moved to San Francisco.

Now, I’m not one to judge anyone on his behavior, but I’d like to understand why people choose this while I choose the drugging effects of bad TV. Maybe they’d like to think they’re “inspired” while I accept that I’m killing brain cells. And I don’t need an herb to feel lazy and hungry: my mere existence confirms that. Frankly, I’d rather pay Time Warner than a dealer. I guess we all have our weaknesses. But be warned: the next time I catch you lighting up on Ludlow Street, I’ll call the cops myself.

If literary history has taught us anything, it’s that good writers drink, bad ones smoke. I can’t comment on my writing, but I do prefer the sauce.


That New Restaurant


You know the one I’m talking about. It’s fusion. Adam Platt just raved about it. “Icelandic cuisine meets Ethiopia,” he says (think: a fish stuffed with finger-food…or perhaps fingers). It’s in Greenpoint or New Jersey or another unexpected neighborhood I have to take two trains to get to. Half an hour after our reservation, we’ll still be waiting at its fantastic bar drinking my week’s salary in cocktails. The model-wannabe hostess is bored and rude, and the chiseled waiters are catty—probs gay. Everything’s organic, even the napkins and tablecloths. Now I know what I’m paying for—good information, since the minimalist décor and small portions confused me. The menu changes every night and making my entrée vegetarian will insult the chef. But it’s so hip and everybody’s talking about it! You’re a real philistine if you don’t want to slip the hostess a hundo and lick some balls. (It’s just an expression, Mom, like “I’d eat a horse” or “I slept with him for concert tickets.”) Everyone there will probably just sneer at my last-season Philip Lim smock, anyway.

No, thanks. I’ll order in.